US destroyed ‘threatening’ Iranian drone, Trump says

July 19, 2019

The United States destroyed an Iranian drone after it flew within a threatening distance of a Navy vessel in the Strait of Hormuz, President Donald Trump announced Thursday.

A U.S. Navy ship “took defensive action against an Iranian drone. It was threatening the ship and the ship’s crew. The drone was immediately destroyed,” Trump said.

The drone attack is the most recent skirmish amid heightened tensions with Iran. The Iranian regime shot down a U.S. drone last month, nearly bringing the two nations to the brink of war before Trump called off airstrikes.

U.S. shoots down Iranian drone

Trump announced the drone’s downing at a press conference shortly after it was brought down. He tied it with a series of provocations from Iran, which has rattled sabers with the United States in Persian Gulf oil routes over the past few months. The U.S.S. Boxer, an amphibious Navy assault ship with a host of U.S. Marines, was threatened by the drone near the Strait of Hormuz, which lies between the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.

“At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious U.S.S. Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz. A fixed-wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range,” Trump said.

“This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters,” Trump said, adding the United States has “the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, and interests, and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran’s attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce.”

U.S. Marines stationed on the ship reportedly used electronic jamming technology to destroy the drone. Iran has denied losing one of its drones, but Trump insisted Friday, “no doubt about it.”

The drone threat came the same day that Iran allegedly seized a United Arab Emirates-based tanker. Iran did not identify the vessel, which it accused of smuggling oil, but images shared by the regime match that of the Riah, which went missing in Iranian waters last weekend. America has called on Iran to release the ship.

On Friday, Iran claimed to have seized a British oil tanker which entered Iranian waters. Iran has accused Britain of piracy for seizing an Iranian ship near the Strait of Gibraltar in the Mediterranean Sea two weeks ago that was accused of breaking Iran’s oil embargo. Iran had threatened reprisal for the ship seizure.

Heightened tensions

Iran has threatened to disrupt oil traffic off its shores as retaliation for Western sanctions on its oil trade. Tensions with Iran have ramped up since the United States withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and added sanctions that have crippled the regime’s economy.

But so far, neither side has shown signs of blinking. Trump threatened to increase sanctions after Iran exceeded uranium enrichment limits put in place by the Iran deal. The United States rejected an offer from Iran this week to allow nuclear inspections in exchange for lifting sanctions.

The tensions have produced fears of a disastrous conflict with the regime, but so far, at least, the United States has managed to avoid war.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.